Lisa Whelchel never met her future on-screen husband, Bobby (Eugene Byrd) – and that was OK with the actress. “I never knew my on-screen husband,” she tells FOX411. “When we were on the show, we were roommates in our apartment. So, the two of us, along with some of the other cast members would always get together for a drink or a meal.
“He met my mom and some other friends of mine. And I did have some good times with him. I do know he’s single, but that wasn’t important to me.”
The former Facts of Life star appeared at the New York City premiere of Mindy Kaling’s new movie, A Wrinkle in Time, to promote her new book, Unsung. Kaling introduced her on stage and gave a rousing endorsement of Whelchel’s “beautiful” family of five children.
Then the surprise was announced.
“Now our daughter, Lucille Whelchel has a boyfriend and you can see him tonight!” said Kaling. “He’s actually a scientist.”
“How nice is that? How wonderful is that?” she exclaimed. “I always thought the fun was just getting to play my own kid. I didn’t know any family, I mean this is the first time I get to have a real family.”
Whelchel and her family in 1977 on The Facts of Life. Getty Images
Ironically, Whelchel had recently returned from a family vacation with her husband when the marriage proposal was dropped on her.
“I knew something was happening, but we kept it a secret and so when the invitations went out to the family they were like ‘no problem,’” she says. “There was never any suspicion. We were all on a family trip. It happened at the last minute at a really inconvenient time, so it was kind of like, ‘Oh wow, good thing you were being really stealthy.’
She adds: “I knew the marriage would happen one day, I don’t know when, but it’s been happening for a while.”
Her children are: Mason, 17, daughter with ex Scott Plummer; Savannah, 16, daughter with her former husband, Thomas Colby; Jonah, 14, son with ex Brandon Jacobs; and Caroline, 13, daughter with her current husband Robert Reed.
This year, Whelchel will celebrate the 40th anniversary of her breakout role as Blair on the beloved classic hit, The Facts of Life. She spoke with Steve Doocy and Natalie Morales of FOX & Friends about the upcoming milestone and how she will celebrate it. Whelchel’s appearance came on the heels of her being named one of ten women considered the “Will the Real Karen Be Found” candidate in a contest that will air on This Morning and The View. The female picks will help the show search for new amateur sleuths to solve crimes. Watch the interview below:
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